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School board: No 'line in the sand' on arena project

The District 192 School Board voted Monday to reject a proposal some board members called a "line in the sand" on paying for improvements to the city's ice arena.

School board member Tim Burke introduced a motion Monday that would have cut the district out of paying for any repairs or renovations at Schmitz-Maki Arena. The motion was added to the agenda at the beginning of Monday's meeting but defeated on a 4-1 vote when it came up for action.

Burke defended the motion by pointing out that the school district has never asked the city to help pay for its facilities, but others worried about the effect the motion could have on the relationship between the city and the school district.

Others said it was simply too early to make any decision on whether the district will help pay for a project at Schmitz-Maki. The city is still in the process of figuring out how much it will cost to repair ice making systems that are in danger of failing. And while there has been discussion of either expanding the arena with a second sheet of ice or building a new arena elsewhere in the city there are no firm plans to do so.

"I don't feel we have received all the information," board member Julie Singewald said.

There was some talk early on that both the school district and the Farmington Youth Hockey Association would help pay for repairs at the arena, but there was never any formal agreement.

Singewald also said it might be reasonable for the district to make some contribution to the project in exchange for first choice of ice time. Refuse to pay, she said, and high school hockey teams might suddenly find themselves practicing at 8 or 9 instead of immediately after school.

"I think that if we're asking for something from the city there's a little buyback we have to do in return," Singewald said.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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